Tag Archives: Cheese

Mac and Cheese now with covert veggies

Yes, I messed with that classic, the precious macaroni and cheese. Yes, I added vegetables. Hear me out though! Years ago kraft came out with a healthier mac that included cauliflower in its sauce. I tried it, it was ok…except that cauliflower upsets my tummy. Notice you don’t see me using it much? Well, I finally got to thinking there must be a better way. After a bit of playing around I have found it. I was torn for awhile between pumpkin and carrot,  but in the end carrot won. Mostly because I used up all my pumpkin making all my other delectable treats.

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  • 227 grams high fibre dry macaroni
  • 370 grams carrots, cut into chunks (I just washed them and left peels on)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard powder
  • 1 cup light shredded cheese (I blended some cheddar and mozzarella but have fun trying out new things, I would include a sharp cheese in the blend though)
  • 1/4 cup light shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tbl light cheddar cheese spread
  • 3 tbl shredded romano or parmesan cheese
  • Salt and pepper
  1. Preheat oven 375F and spray a 9×9 baking dish.
  2. Cook the pasta as directed to al dente, drain and reserve 1 cup of liquid.
  3. Place carrots in a microwave safe container. Add 1/2 cup water. Microwave for 4 minutes or until soft. Add reserved water from the pasta and puree until smooth.
  4. Add the carrot puree to the pasta and cook over medium heat for a few minutes until the “sauce” thickens.
  5. Reduce heat to low and add the mustard powder, 1 cup of shredded cheese blend, cheese spread and romano/parmesan cheese. Stir until creamy and season to taste.
  6. Pour into the prepared baking dish. Top with the 1/4 cup light cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes or until bubbling.

Serves 4. Each serving contains 338 calories, 8.2 grams fat, 53.3 grams carbs, 2.6 grams fibre, 17 grams protein. A great comfort food, I forgot about the carrots in it after the first bite and just carried on loving a creamy noodle dish of num. A little side salad and you have accomplished so many of your daily veggies or better yet cut this into smaller pieces and have it as a side dish. A 6 serving side dish is 225 calories, 5.4 grams fat, 35.6 grams carbs, 1.7 grams fibre, 11.3 grams protein.

Hardcore Hobbit: Rarebit Muffins

For those not in the know, Welsh rarebit is a tasty dish of a melted cheese sauce (usually cheddar and mustard) poured over toast and devoured with gusto. In LOTRO rarebit muffins are made with black barley flour, goat cheese, milk and an egg. All fabulous starting points as usual but this time I decided to use some extreme guidance from Nigella Lawson. Her recipe is simply delicious, I lightened it up, changed a few things around and it still came out delish…my husband, the Surly Dwarf, ate about 6 of them. I call that a win! Want to make some too and not feel the guilt? Let’s go!

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  • 275g flour (I used the nutrigrain flour, hurray whole grains!)
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp mustard powder
  • 100g rathtrevor cheese (this is a great local cheese made by Little Qualicum Cheeseworks, if you can get it go for it! If not a nice sharp cheddar is good too)
  • 1/4 cup melted light cooking margarine
  • 150g 0% fat greek yogurt (use the kind with no gelatin)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tbl worcestershire sauce (keep the bottle on hand for sprinkling)
  • 1/2 cup milk (I use unsweetened almond milk)
  1. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and mustard powder. I don’t always sift but for these I always do. They work out best this way, totally worth the effort. Here I will prove it, I actually sifted.100_2962See? Told ya.
  2. Add the cheese, reserving a couple tbl worth for topping later. Toss to coat the cheese.
  3. In a measuring cup combine the remaining ingredients.
  4. Add the yogurt mixture to the flour, stir until moistened. Don’t over stir, the lumps help make this airy when you bake it instead of dense.
  5. Scoop into a greased 12 muffin tin. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from oven top with remaining cheese and a sprinkle of worcestershire sauce. Back in the oven for 5 minutes.
  7. Serve while warm but not piping hot. Cheese burns are lethal.

Makes 12 servings. Each serving contains 142 calories, 5.3g fat, 17g carbs, 2.3g fibre, and 7.2g protein. Pretty great for a super tasty savoury muffin. I paired this with a salad topped with my garlic dressing for dinner. Good times. Enjoy!

Cheesy Poofs

“I love cheesy poofs,  you love cheesy poofs, if we didn’t eat cheesy poofs, we’d be LAME.” the immortal words of Cartman.

Alright, so these aren’t quite the fabled South Park junk food but they are so very nummy. The beauty of these is that you can use any cheese you have on hand to make it suit your taste. My favourite version of these is a toss up between the smoked gouda or my goat cheese ones. The goat cheese is my healthiest version so I will go with that one today. The perfect snack for entertaining guests, as part of an afternoon tea platter, or just because you want them. Remember, you can’t share them with kitty…they are YOUR cheesy poofs.

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  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk or buttermilk
  • 4 tbl butter
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 ounces low fat goat cheese
  • 1/8 tsp ground mace
  • 1/8 tsp dry mustard powder
  • freshly ground pepper and salt to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400F and line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a saucepan combine the milk, water, and butter. Bring almost to a boil.
  3. Reduce heat to low. Add the flour and stir with a wooden spoon. Stir constantly until a smooth dough forms. Once it begins to pull away from the edges of the pan remove from the heat and allow to cool for one minute.100_2914
  4. Add one of the eggs, beat in until the dough is smooth again. Repeat with the second egg.
  5. Stir in the cheese, pepper, salt and mace until smooth.
  6. Transfer the dough into a piping bag (or in my case a freezer bag that I cut a corner off of). Pipe the dough into desired shape on the parchment covered pans. I go with little round cushions.
  7. Bake for 20 minutes or until puffed and slightly golden brown. Serve warm.100_2918

Makes 40 cheesy poofs. Each poof contains 22 calories, 1.6 grams of fat, 1.2 grams of carbs, 0 gram fibre, .6 gram protein. Why not have a few? Then pat yourself on the back for making a choux pastry. You top chef, you.

Hardcore Hobbit: Fruit Roll

What an exciting week! I was successful at completing the first phase of my training, so I am now a certified pilates instructor. Boldly going where no geek has gone before. Now Isengard is live on LOTRO!! Woot! I myself don’t get to play yet because all this schooling means very little gaming money right now. Can’t go running off and buying it yet. Still all this exciting stuff deserves cake…it deserves hardcore hobbit cake. In the game the fruit roll is made of honey, blackberries, and barley flour. ! It also gives that boost of will power that we all need. This to me says lemon cake with a blackberry cream cheese filling. Shall we?

  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey or splenda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp grated lemon rind
  • 1 tbl fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 blackberries, fresh or thawed
  • 2 tbl light strawberry cream cheese
  1. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl. Make a well in the centre.
  2. In another bowl combine the eggs, water, lemon rind, lemon juice, and vanilla. Mix until all one colour. Add the honey or splenda and mix until smooth.
  3. Add the liquids to the well in the flour. Add the dry around the sides of the well to the liquids until smooth.
  4. Grease a jelly roll pan very well, for extra care line with parchment paper. Pour the batter into the pan and smooth out evenly.
  5. Bake at 350F for 10-15 minutes. Check with a toothpick to make sure it is done. Immediately loosen the cake from the pan and upend onto a clean tea towel. Roll the cake gently like a jelly roll using the towel. Allow to cool.
  6. Combine the blackberries and cream cheese. I don’t get to worried about a smooth texture. I think its more fun to have little pockets of cream cheese and berry. Unroll the cake. Spread the cream cheese mixture on the cake giving about an inch of space from the edges.
  7. Roll the cake back up carefully. Slice into 16 pieces and serve!

Each slice contains (with honey) 91 calories, 1 gram fat, 19.8 gram carbs, .4 gram fibre, and 1.8 grams protein. With splenda each slice contains 43 calories, 1 gram fat, 8 grams carbs, .3 gram fibre, and 1.8 grams protein. Sure you can frost this cake but with the way that cream cheese berry filling is you really don’t need the extra calories and fat to enjoy.

Cheesecake Pancakes

I have totally weirded you out but intrigued you at the same time, haven’t I? So there I was. The morning of my husband’s birthday. He was happily sleeping in and I knew I wanted to surprise him with a tasty but different breakfast in bed. When I looked in the fridge the cream cheese completely caught my eye. Do I think of making some sort of bagel with a custom flavoured cream cheese like a sane person would? No! Instead I begin pondering how a breakfast cheesecake would be done. In the morning, before coffee or tea, a cheesecake pancake is ofcourse the logical answer. Feeling a bit like a kid mixing up a possibly monstrous concoction to surprise the parents with, I get to work. Then, a miracle happened. I served it with a choice of strawberry jam or maple syrup…and it was delicious!!! Decadent yet light, and oh so filling. Cheesecake for breakfast…the world is now perfect. You are welcome, I await my nobel prize. Hehe.

  • 4 oz light cream cheese
  • 1/4 cup splenda or sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbl coconut flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 egg whites
  1. Combine the cream cheese, splenda/sugar, cinnamon, vanilla and coconut flour in a bowl.
  2. In a seperate bowl beat the egg whites until soft peaks form.
  3. Fold the egg whites into the cream cheese mixture carefully.
  4. Spray a pan and heat over medium low. Spoon about 1/4 cup onto the pan. Allow to cook about 2 minutes on each side achieving a golden brown. If they are a bit dark, don’t worry! It’s cheese, it remains tasty…unless you’ve completely burnt them.

Makes 4 pancakes. Each pancake contains 86 calories, 5.3 grams fat, 5.3 grams carbs, 1 gram fibre, and 6.8 grams protein. Absolutely delicious served with fruit, jam and maple syrup. I think this may even be gluten free…double check that though with your resident gluten free person, I am not a gluten free expert.

Chicken with a Goat Cheese and Mead Sauce

What to do with leftover mead…I never thought I would actually wonder something like this. Thing is I love cooking with various other wines so why not give cooking with mead a try? I love goat cheese and it pairs beautifully with mead. This needs to be done! The end result was creamy, tart and slightly sweet with nice body to it. Definitely the star of this chicken dish. It seems to me like just the thing hobbits might serve to dwarf dinner guests.

  • 2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 60 grams goat cheese
  • 1 tbl corn starch
  • 1/4 cup mead of choice (I chose a local spiced mead)
  • 1 cup skim milk
  • 1 tbl light butter
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. If you choose you can marinate the chicken in a bit of mead for a few hours. It is really tasty to do but not crucial. Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Grill chicken until done. While the chicken cooks make the sauce.
  2. Melt the butter in a saucepan, add the cornstarch and stir until combined.
  3. Slowly add the milk and mead, whisking constantly.
  4. Once the sauce has heated to near boiling (do not let it boil). Add the goat cheese and stir until melted.
  5. Serve on top of sliced chicken breast.

Serves 2 and is easily doubled to serve more! Each serving contains 241 calories, 5.8 grams of fat, 10.2 carbs, no fibre (you can fix this by adding a clear supplement), and 29.9 grams of protein.

Philly Cheese Steak

This is one of those recipes that isn’t much of a recipe really. More like an example of how to make those naughty things we love a bit healthier. My husband loves philly cheese steaks, especially when they come in pizza form. So with some leftover buns I decided to give making these healthier a go and see if they pass with the cheese steak eater. They did! Here is what I did.

  • Thinly sliced eye of round steak, tossed in montreal steak spice
  • thinly sliced 4 crimini mushrooms
  • thinly sliced 1/2 sweet onion
  • thinly sliced 1/2 red pepper
  • 4 sliced of reduced fat provolone cheese
  • 2 herbed sub buns
  1. Saute the steak in a hot pan until done. Remove and set aside and keep warm.
  2. Add the mushrooms and onions to the pan and cook until the juices come out and the onion caramelize slightly. You can add the red peppers to the cooking mixture if you like. I like mine to have some crunch left in them.
  3. Layer the steak in the cut buns, top with the mushroom and onion mixture. Layer red peppers on top and then the cheese.
  4. Arrange the sandwiches on a flat pan and put under the broiler until the cheese is bubbly. Serve!

Makes two subs. There is so much room for variation in this recipe it’s difficult to post nutritionals for it. I will say though that for us it was what I usually spend on dinner. This philly was totally conquered and really easy.

Potato Surprise

When I was in my early teens my dad came back from a trip to south africa with a bunch of french culinary magazines for me. I was elated, oh so many new tasty things to pour over, this was of course before the internet was so full of the information it is now. Back when BBS stuff was more the norm. I know, I’m a fair bit aged. I came across a recipe that was called potato surprise that just sounded oh so tasty…and it was. It was the first time I had come across a stuffed potato and I was in love. Years later, driving across the country with my husband I encountered another version of the stuffed potato that made me raise an eyebrow in Alberta. Served in this amazing steakhouse was a spiced potato surprise. I have been adding a kick of spice to them ever since. Now that things around here are a bit lighter I have had to re-imagine my potato surprise and you know what? It is still awesome. Oh potato surprise, you never let me down.

  • 2 large potatoes (any type will do, I’ve done them with them all. For a really interesting show get yourself a blue or purple potato. Awesome!)
  • 1/4 cup fat free sour cream
  • 1 tsp low fat cooking margarine
  • 1 tbl montreal steak spice
  • 1 tbl finely chopped chives
  • 30 grams parmesan cheese
  1. Clean, dry, stab the potatoes with a fork 6 times. Bake at 350F for 1 hour. Sure, you can do them in the micro but I hate the texture you get when that is done. Bleh.
  2. Carefully slice the potatoes in half and allow to cool enough that you can handle them safely.
  3. Scoop out the insides of the potato leaving about a centimeter of flesh still attached to the skin. Reserve the potato flesh in a bowl. Place the skins on a baking sheet.
  4. Add the sour cream, spices, and half the cheese to the potato flesh you reserved. Mash until smooth and creamy (this happens best if the flesh is still warm when you are working with it). If you want to get fancy get out the mixer and whip.
  5. Spoon the mixture back into the potatoes (or if you are being fancy pipe them back in). Top with the remaining cheese.
  6. Place back in the oven at 350F for 20-30 minutes. Serve.

Makes 4 servings (1 half a potato). Each serving contains 191 calories, 3.1 grams of fat, 34.3 carbs, 3.3 grams of fibre, and 7.3 grams of protein. It’s definitely a filling special occasion side dish. The work involved really isn’t much considering it can be broken up. I tend to bake and stuff the potatoes before hand and then do the final baking step right before serving. They work out just fine if you make them the night before. Great for serving to guests.

Pistachio Avocado Pesto

I’m one of those people who has a sensitivity to pine nuts. It’s not so bad to have stuff that may have been in contact with them but if I eat them, well…it’s just not a happy time. So, for the longest time pesto was something I eyed with longing and dread. Then one day years ago I made my own, but with different nuts. There was dancing and rejoicing far across the shire. Pesto was once again a tasty thing to be had again. I have done it with walnuts, pecans, and almonds but so far my favourite has to be this newest version with pistachios. Pesto is chock full of nice and healthy ingredients but sadly so full of fats. It’s those fats though that are giving us those healthy benefits so they stay. This is one of those things to be enjoyed in moderation.

  • 30 basil leaves
  • 4 tbl pistachios
  • 4 tbl extra virgin avocado oil
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tbl parmesan cheese
  1. Pulse the pistachios to the desired texture in a blender.
  2. Add the remaining ingredients and blend until a paste or sauce forms.

Makes 4 servings. Each serving contains 92 calories, 8.3 grams of fat and .9 grams of fibre. To help metabolize a lot of that fat you can add a clear dissolving fibre supplement to the mix without any loss of taste or texture. This pesto is great tossed with angel hair pasta but my favourite is serving it as a flatbread topped with a nice light goat cheese and prosciutto.

There are some really great high fibre flat breads out there or you can make this using some of the dough from the deep dish pizza crust recipe.

Mexican Style Low Fat Layered Dip

Come on, everyone has a recipe for these. They are so great for parties or in my case role playing groups. I usually have a chili layer I include in these but I skipped it this time to make it more vegetarian friendly. Served this with a choice of regular tortilla chips and baked chips…and it disappeared fast. Such a crowd pleaser and really not that hard to portion control for yourself. Get a spoon and grab a cross section for yourself, fill up a ramekin (which is usually 1/4 cup) and you have yourself one serving of this dip! That and you won’t have to fight the others as they omnomnom this too. Why no pictures of it baked? Because as soon as it came out of the oven it was grisly zombie scene of devouring frenzy. Goodtimes.

First layer ( the jalapeno popper inspired layer)

  • 5 oz. Fat free cream cheese
  • 1 jalapeno pepper (with seeds)

Second layer ( guacamole inspired layer)

  • 1 avocado
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp lime juice
  • 1/2 small onion
  • salt and pepper to taste

Third layer

  • 4 tbl Taco sauce of desired hotness or chili layer

Fourth Layer (bean dip inspired layer)

  • 1 cup low fat refried beans
  • 1 tbl lime juice
  • 2 tsp. Taco seasoning

Fifth layer

  • 1/2 cup shredded light cheddar cheese
  • ¼ cup chopped green onions
  1. Combine ingredients for first layer in a blender. Jalapeno first and then added the cream cheese, room temperature. Spread evenly on bottom of oven proof container. I use my loaf pan, always the perfect size.
  2. Combine the various layers ingredients and layer them on top accordingly. For the bean layer I used the blender. Finish it up by sprinkling the cheese on top and then topping with green onions (if serving cold, if baked add green onions after baking).
  3. Two ways to serve this. Keep in the refrigerator for an hour and serve cold or heat oven to 350F and bake for 30 minutes (or until cheese is just the way you want it). I prefer the hot way.

Makes about 8 servings of about 1/4 cup. Each serving contains 102 calories, 4 grams of fat and 3.6 grams of fibre. Calculated assuming you used a taco sauce layer, if you go with chili make sure you add those values! Totally delicious!